The Cost of Customer Acquisition in the Digital Age

The Cost of Customer Acquisition in the Digital Age Published March 2016 Analyst: Caryn Smith


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The cost of customer acquisition in the digital age is a hot topic. Much has been written about it, and consultants are cashing in. Lon Safko has trained over 500 executives in large companies in the last three years. Yet whenever he addresses the subject of customer acquisition and asks, “Who here knows their cost of customer acquisition?” not a single hand goes up. While these clients work in many different industries, the near-uniform response speaks to the significant changes that are occurring in the digital age. Not a day seems to go by without new developments on the topic. 

Historically, many have defined the cost of customer acquisition (CAC) as the advertising and marketing costs associated with convincing a potential customer to purchase a product. Others have defined the term more broadly by including the cost of the customer experience – everything from finding, servicing and retaining the customer. This end-to-end customer cost is based on the premise that consumers choose a product because of how they are treated throughout their entire experience. 

  • Introduction to Customer Acquisition
  • Delivering the Digital Customer Experience
  • Being Everywhere Without Being Everywhere
  • New Customer Acquisition: A Simple Shopping and Purchasing Example
  • The Post-Purchase Experience
  • Retention: More Important Than Acquisition?
  • Data, Data, Data
  • The Digital Customer Experience: A Better or Worse Bottom Line?
  • Metrics Matter
  • Conclusion
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